"True meditation is about being fully present with everything that is, including discomfort and challenges. It is not an escape from life"
- Craig Hamilton -
When considering whether or not you need a personal meditation altar, it comes down to a fundamental question in intent. If your intention is to create a life more fulfilling in whatever aspect you want to achieve (health, wealth, happiness - whatever floats your boat), then, the internal monologue reflects the external environment (and vice versa).
No one "must-have" a personal meditation altar in order to achieve their goals, but setting up your meditation and (or) yoga space as a sanctuary is an external representation of your intention. This means an altar can act as a focal point for meditation or a sanctuary where you can go when you want a reflection of peace, serenity and a connection to your intentions.
If your home (or room if you share with others) does not have space for a special yoga or meditation area there may be an area you can set up that is smaller, and represents your sacred personal altar space. If you have the room (and income) to support grander gestures, do what feels right for your intentions.
Whatever it is you can achieve or afford, here are a few tips to get started:
1. Clear a Space
Creating the space for the altar to exist clear and consecrates a dedicated area of your home, room, a corner, a table, a shelf, whatever area you can dedicate solely a spiritual purpose. This first step shows a commitment to Spirit, including the dedication to find, clean and prepare that space. The space needs to be somewhere you will see it, and, intentionally sit at or near it daily.
2. Select Sacred Items
With the understanding you are working towards a physical manifestation of your intentions, there are no wrong items for your altar. Be selective, be aware, and choose your items carefully. Have fun with this part, and make it yours,
Perhaps you want to pick a theme:
Perhaps you want to pick a Chakra:
Root - trust - I am
Sacral - sexuality, creativity - I feel
Solar Plexus - wisdom, power - I do
Heart - love, healing - I love
Throat - communication - I speak
Third Eye - awareness - I see
Crown - spirituality - I understand
Some ideas for items on your altar
Candles (I recommend beeswax, here's a link for an NZ supplier)
Fresh flowers or herbs (here is a link for NZ flowers at wholesale prices)
Crystals (here is a link to some crystal options)
Spiritual or inspirational books (here is a link to some book options)
Photos of loved ones
Photos of people who have positively inspired you in life
Literature with special meaning for you (poems, song lyrics, cards, etc)
Beachcombing treasures (seashells, coral, stones, feathers, etc)
A musical instrument that you can (or want to) learn to play (here is a link for some options)
3. Arrange your Altar
Your altar is uniquely yours, you don't have to satisfy the visions depicted Pinterest or Google - "you do you".....
Each item you place has an intention (remembering step 2), so all items are placed on the altar with the intention they manifest. If you aren't sure what the purpose is of some items, double-check with Google, and if you are short on space, be selective.
4. Maintain your Altar
Remember your altar is there to manifest and represent your intentions, so keeping in the habit of clearing the altar of accident key storage, dust accumulation or used tissues (whatever can just gather there...). If you are neglecting your altar, reflect on whether you are neglecting your spiritual life or are not working towards your true intentions.
Step 5: Use your altar on a daily basis
Now that you have created your personal altar, use it - DAILY !
Your altar is not a decoration, it is an external presentation of your true intentions. You can meditate in front of it, do yoga near it, brighten it up with fresh flowers. If you feel like you don't have the time, just glance at it on your way out the door. Use it for an extra lift, smile and sacred thought before you start your workday.